International Movement of Catholic Students
Promote the student apostolate among students in higher education stressing their responsibility in life, in the Church’s mission and in the world; recognize the problems of justice, a recognition which is vital to the transformation of society, and work with all concerned women and men for joint action and reflection leading to a more just and equitable social order at all levels: national, continental and international; further the Christian faith experience lived in one’s own commitment and to try to communicate this faith to the student milieu by bearing witness to Jesus Christ; encourage pedagogies of action which help students integrate their Christian faith in their efforts to build a more just society.
The beginnings of IMCS can be traced back past our “official” founding in 1921 in Fribourg, Switzerland, to the late 19th Century with the International Union of Catholic Students. In 1921, a diverse group of existing national federations of Catholic university students from Europe, Argentina, Java (Indonesia), and the United States, founded IMCS with the name of Pax Romana, to express their desire to build peace and solidarity in a world torn apart by war. Since then the identity of IMCS at the international, regional, national, and local levels has changed and grown to meet the challenges of the world and the local context in which they are active. The identity, name and structure of each national movement within IMCS also often differs from county to country. Since its foundation in 1921, the national movements and associations of IMCS-Pax Romana have believed in the importance of coming together in solidarity for common reflection and action with and on behalf of students in the university, the Church and the world. These national movements and associations believe that the international and regional coordinations of IMCS play an important role in supporting their activities, representing their concerns and developing a common vision for students based on the message of Jesus Christ. IMCS-Pax Romana, the successor to the International Union of Catholic Students, was founded as an association of Catholic students in Fribourg, Switzerland in 1921 and approved by a letter from Cardinal Gasparri to Max Gressly, President of the International Union of Catholic Students on 5 June 1921. Because of its powerful witness to reconciliation and solidarity under the motto of “Pax Christi in Regno Christi,” the Union began to be known as “Pax Romana.” In 1946 and 1947, graduates and friends of Pax Romana formed an autonomous branch, the International Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs (ICMICA). With the foundation of ICMICA, the student branch of Pax Romana, with the approval of Cardinal Pizzardo, became known as the International Movement of Catholic Students. Together ICMICA and IMCS constitute the two branches of Pax Romana.